"In 1963, in an act that stunned the world, an elderly Buddhist monk stepped clamly from a car into the street, crossed his legs in a serene lotus position, meditated hinself into a contemplative state, and watched in silence as a group of monks and nun encircled him, dousing him with gasoline and lighting him with fire" (253).
This passage had very powerful imagery for me which allowed me to form a connection betweeen the monk's sacrifice, and Thanh's sacrifice of her own life for Mai. I believe that Thanh uses the analogy of this story to convey the reasoning of her suicied not as an act of selfishness, but as an act of the ultimate sacrifice that she can give to her daughter. Thanh believes that if she ends her life, she will end the bad Karma of her family and their history as well, leaving Mai with a clean slate for a better future. Therefore, like the monk, Thanh is willing to make a sacrifice for a greater cause.